Triathlon royalty were at the official unveiling of Triathlon Canada’s new training facility at the Save-on- Foods Memorial Centre, with an announcement of new funding to aid the next generation of triathletes achieve Olympic status. Simon Whitfield, Brent McMahon and rower turned triathlete Silken Laumann were on hand to tour the new 1,000 sq. foot facility, which now becomes the new national training centre. Triathletes can now join swimmers, cyclists, rowers and track athletes who already train at the many facilities in Victoria including PISE, Saanich Commonwealth Pool and the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific.
Les Pereira, President of Triathlon Canada, cited Whitfield’s achievement in winning gold at the Sidney Olympics in 2000 as the impetus for many others to enter the sport. “We are proud to come back to the city that is synonymous with the sport. Victoria is the training ground for many sports and athletes who aim to deliver gold medal performances.”
PacificSport Victoria, a legacy of Victoria’s Commonwealth Games, has re-branded as 94 Forward and will provide funding over the next two years to aid in the implementation of a high-performance program for Canada’s development-level athletes who are accepted into the new National Performance Centre. 94 Forward has also implemented a matching program to further support Triathlon Canada’s fundraising efforts over the term of the agreement.
“We understand the financial support young Canadian triathletes need, and deserve, to access the tools required to support their drive to compete with the world’s best,” said John MacMillan, President, 94 Forward. “We believe investing in the development of Triathlon Canada’s National Performance Centre athletes will have a long-lasting impact that dives deep into the Victoria region. As we have witnessed with the sport of triathlon in Canada, medal-winning athletes spark participation, which ultimately leads to a deeper athlete pool and event hosting opportunities, which presents tremendous benefits for a community.”
Matt Sharpe, one of Canada’s rising triathletes was inspired by Whitfield and McMahon. “It is huge for us as athletes knowing we are swimming in the same pool as them, riding the same trails and running the same roads,” he said. “Training in cutting-edge facilities breeds future success, but we also need funding,” added the Campbell River native. “Here is the next generation of athletes, now we can access the tools here – we will not let you down.”
The City of Victoria are providing a long-term lease for office and training space at the arena, that will be used as a strength and conditioning gym for all of Canada’s high-performance triathletes and coaches.
“The support and leadership demonstrated by the City of Victoria and 94 Forward ensures the road to the Olympic and Paralympic Games for Canada’s triathletes will continue to go through Victoria well into the future,” said Kim Van Bruggen, Chief Executive Officer, Triathlon Canada.